Actor, writer and television presenter Stephen Fry has been named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, based at St Catherine's College, Oxford.
He will succeed the theatre director Sir Michael Boyd in February 2014.
Mr Fry has enjoyed a career spanning stage, film, television and radio. He has also written four novels, two volumes of autobiography and countless columns for newspapers and magazines.
He said: 'This is an extraordinary honour and an extraordinary opportunity. I really look forward to engaging with students who are enthusiastic and passionate about the performing arts.
'Dance and music will feature little in my time there, I am sorry to say, but I hope to help students devise comic and dramatic pieces, talk through rehearsal, writer-performing techniques and procedures, and give what benefit I might have to offer from over a quarter of a century of larking about on stage and screen.
'Above all I hope we'll all have fun. It's not by accident that dramatic pieces are actually called "plays" and that in Shakespeare's day actors were "players".
'The Mackintosh Foundation and its Chair has become a remarkable institution and I am very proud to have been offered this chance to be a part of it.'
The Chair of Contemporary Theatre, founded through a grant from the Mackintosh Foundation at St Catherine's College, aims to promote interest in, and the study and practice of, contemporary theatre. The Visiting Professorship has previously been held by actors, writers, directors and producers including Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Alan Ayckbourn, Richard Eyre, Phyllida Lloyd and Patrick Stewart.
Professor Roger Ainsworth, Master of St Catherine's College, said: 'I am delighted that Stephen Fry has agreed to take on the role of Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre.
'Stephen's impressively diverse career, spanning over 30 years, has provided him with an exceptionally wide range of experience, and his many achievements have been widely honoured.
'His highly acclaimed return to the stage in the 2012 production of Twelfth Night at Shakespeare's Globe will be of particular interest to our students, but also they will certainly jump at the idea of having fun with him.'
Following Mr Fry's inaugural lecture it is expected that he will undertake at least one student workshop each term and perhaps an additional public lecture.